Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Ah, Scotty... we'll miss ye....

James Doohan, RIP

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Got back last Thursday from the long trip in China (actually wasn't that long, just felt like it), finishing off assisting in some solos for a certain youth orchestra tour (It's not Children's Orchestra Society's gig, and you'll see why I stress this later). Planes, with their hideously pressurized and recycled air, get me very sick, and I've lost my voice. Only the Airbus 330, with it's heavily moisturized air streaming from the top in a heavenly fog, gave the most comfortable ride.

Trained in kung fu on Sunday, vaguely remembering my forms. Was a rough workout. Gao seemed pleasantly surprised to see me back there.

Had full intentions of training Muay Thai Monday, but jet lag and relapse of illness caused me to oversleep my nap... Just as well, since it's not good to be hitting people, or being hit by people, while sleepy and dizzy. :)

I'll probably make up for it tomorrow if I go to the JKD class on Tuesday. I really need the exercise, because pretty much all I did in China was eat, drink, and sit on a tour bus. Didn't really gain that much weight per se, but definately had some muscle reduced to fat.

So people ask me regarding China and Taiwan... How did it go?

The performances went alright, but I had a lot of profound disagreements with the way the tour was being operated. Logistically, planning was okay, and the touring company was top notch, with the exception of some near disasters at the Beijing train station, barely making our train. The main beef I had was the focus of the tour... it seemed a lot less centered on the children and the music, and more centered on shopping for the parents, and excessive sightseeing to the point that some people (including myself) became ill because of the constant shift between 101 degree humid weather outside and dry 70 degree tour bus temperature, as well as excessive political posturing for the benefit of certain top members of the organization.

Being a musician, a tour should focus on the music, and the music must be as top quality as possible. Anything less, to me, is unacceptable. Rehearsals were too long and too far spaced out, and lacked detail and polish. Mostly they were just unneccessary run-throughs, more for the benefit of the brass ringers - who were there anyway just to cover up a shockingly weak string section core, and the conductor - who is a nice guy and good musician, but is clearly lacking confidence in his group, the sense of which subliminally affected his orchestra. This was exacerbated by the fact that the children were exhausted.... sightseeing was compressed and rushed through, even on the day of a concert, tiring the kids to the point that they didn't want to and/or were unable to rehearse/perform at maximum concentration. On one particular concert day, the kids were made to wear full concert dress in an outdoor setting in near 97 degree weather, for about 3 hours... all just to take fancy pictures and a meeting with the Mayor of Taipei (who wasn't wearing a suit, by the way). I had it easy... all I had to do was play a 7 minute piece, with maybe maximum 20 minutes of rehearsal... the poor kids were faced with a nearly 3 hour rehearsal with no break(!).

It is why, after seeing what happened during the course of the year, and especially on this recent tour, that I'm severing all ties to this organization best unnamed, and concentrating full-time with the Children's Orchestra Society. It is, in my opinion, the choice for any young musician and parent of a young musician, because it's all about the music, and it's all about the children.

Okay, enough ranting... I'll be posting again soon for a pic or two.